A red velvet-covered dog pillow onto which a tired body could sink, the feather stuffing settling to create a cozy nest.
A hand, heavy with rings dangling over an armrest to lazily stroke a furry back.
Stolen from under the cook’s nose, a bone with meat scraps clinging to its surface. Or, surreptitiously passed under the dining room table, finely roasted morsels bathed in delectable sauces.
I like to imagine Pettigrew’s grandsire many generations back lived in opulent surroundings with an indulgent family.
Perhaps the family fell on hard times, or perhaps the spirit of adventure that leads Pettigrew to take the occasional walkabout (See When the Great Outdoors Beckons…) led his forbears to leave their cushy life for adventure.
In any case, despite his brief stint in a shelter, it is clear Pettigrew is descended from aristocracy.
From the distinctive patterns of his fur: black-tie ready; to his graceful movements: head, midriff, hindquarters, and tail all swinging in a sinuous s-curve with every step; to his status as an alpha: most of the world falls beneath him in the social order; Pettigrew’s heritage is stamped into his very being.
Despite having to adapt to modern realities, Pettigrew has held on to some of the old customs.
Although able to open the screen door, he prefers to wait, as if a butler or footman will jump to the ready to get it for him.
There is no cook from whom to steal bones, but Pettigrew makes his preferences known, spitting out or turning up his nose at inferior treats.
And the leash. Ah yes, that pesky thing that tangles between his legs. Such an inconvenience. Several times during the course of a walk he must pause for his human attendant to untangle him.
Yet, it was his good breeding and social graces that endeared him to the shelter staff. Who, in turn, invited us to meet the “friendliest” dog. How could we resist?
Pettigrew greeted us at his half door, eyes bright, gaze attentive, and tail beating out a warm welcome. He knew the importance of a good first impression. He had us at hello.